Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Carolina Hurricanes: 2009/2010 Gluten Free Update

I have previously written about Gluten Free options at the RBC Center during Carolina Hurricanes games last season. I was able to work with the food and beverage department last year to get RedBridge GF beer carried and they ended up selling 106 during the 42 game regular season. In addition, there were a few GF food options sprinkled throughout the arena.

A few weeks ago, I checked in with the food & beverage department again to see if we could make any improvements over the GF options from last year. One big complaint I heard often was the people knew there was RedBridge, they just didn't know where it was located. You actually had to contact a ticket representative to request a special pass to access the club level of the arena in order to find RedBridge at a single bar called The Ledge Lodge.

I'm happy to report a huge improvement in the Gluten Free options for the upcoming 2009-2010 season. The Food & Beverage Department at the RBC Center has done a great job accommodating those on a Gluten Free Diet. Not surprising from an organization that sends it superstars out to personally deliver season tickets to fans. I'd like to send a huge thanks to Chris Diamond and all the folks responsible for these GF options.

2009-2010 Carolina Hurricanes Gluten Free options @ RBC Center

1) RedBridge beer will now be carried at the following locations. It will be carried on all 3 levels of the arena and no special access passes are needed.
  • Upper Deck - Section 312 - Pub 300
  • Club Level (2nd Deck) - All private Suites, Arena Club Restaurant, Ledge Lodge bar and Champions Club
  • Lower Level - Bud Light Deck
2) The following Gluten Free food options are available.
  • Call in advance (at least 4pm on game days) 919-861-5479 and request a GF meal from Executive Chef Flood. This special menu option includes a plate of grilled chicken, steamed broccoli and carrots and will run in the $15 range. You can coordinate the details on picking up the GF dinner when you call.
  • Carvery Cart Meat Option with Salad - Sections 104 & 124
  • Philly Steak Cart, order without bun - Sections 123 & 324
  • Sausage Stop Cart, order without bun - Sections 105, 120 & 306
  • Many concession stands throughout the arena serve candy options like Skittles, M&Ms and Snickers as well as popcorn - all Gluten Free.
  • New soft serve ice cream (replaces Goodberries) called Twisted Waffle Ice Cream is Gluten Free, Lactose Free and Cholesterol Free (no cone) - Section 116
In addition to all these awesome changes, each concession stand will now have a Food Allergy Ingredient Listing document which details the ingredients of each concession item. If something is in question, please ask the concession worker for this document and you can review all the ingredients yourself to be 100% sure. The listing should include ingredient warnings for the following; wheat & gluten, milk, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts as well as MSG. I've shown an example below - the red letters will indicate the allergen.
Butter - Partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soybean lecithin, natural and artificial butter flavor, TBHQ, and Citric acid, vitamin A, and palmitate. Colored with beta cartone. S

Cheddar Cheese - Maltodextrin (corn), whey powder, cheddar cheese, salt, sugar, sodium, phosphate, lactic acid, yellow #5 (E102), citric acid, yellow #6 (E110), partially hydrogentrated soybean oil, silicon dioxide, FD&C Yellow #6 (E110), disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate. M S

FYI - the puck drops on the new season this coming Friday (10/2/09). The Hurricanes will be in action against the Philadelphia Flyers - get your tickets here. Also, be sure to check out the new "Megatron" this year featuring 4 huge HD video boards!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Restaurant Review: Posta Tuscan Grille

I recently had a business lunch at Posta Tuscan Grille located in the Marriott next to the Convention Center in Downtown Raleigh. Posta has been open for about a year but I have not been since it serves mainly Italian food (all that pasta scares me).

Upon entering (the hotel and restaurant are beautiful by the way), I asked to speak with a chef about their possible Gluten Free options. Within a few minutes, a chef appeared and let me know they could definitely make me something Gluten Free for lunch. I inquired some more about the options, what they included and how they were prepared. I eventually settled on the following...

* Pan seared/fried Filet Mignon
* Baked potato
* Steamed greens
* Dessert - fresh fruit cup

The meal was very yummy (Filet usually is though) but I was impressed by the communication between the chef and waitress. She mentioned that she spoke directly with the chef about my meal and he went over everything with her as well. She then passed it along to me for reassurance. I only had to make a few small changes to the normal menu item which weren't too hard. Instead of grilling, I had the chef pan fry. Instead of mashed potatoes, I had a baked potato. The greens were already Gluten Free and had not seasoning other than salt, pepper and garlic.

Overall, I had a pretty good lunch experience. The restaurant was not that full so maybe that helped. I'd go back to Posta in the future even though they don't offer a Gluten Free menu and didn't have very many choices. The food was quality and very tasty.

Posta Tuscan Grille
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Dress code: Casual
Phone: 833-1120
The Betti brothers grew up in the Tuscan hills just outside Florence, working in the family butcher shop with their father, Silvano, and at the apron of their mother, Rosanna. The Betti's base their recipes around seasonal fresh ingredients and the finest meats, fish and poultry. Their family specialties are the home made Italian Salami. Marco hosts wine and culinary tours to Italy and shares Italy’s treasured ingredients with his American guests, including Porcini mushrooms, white truffles and a fantastic olive oil. Marco also features wine dinners with some of Italy’s most prominent winemakers.

The Betti brothers welcome you to enjoy their family recipes paired with the finest Italian and American wines along with signature cocktails. Posta Tuscan Grille serves breakfast, lunch and dinner along with Bar Posta open daily until late night. Remember to book your next event in one of our Private Dining Rooms.
Raleigh Marriott City Center
500 Fayetteville Street
Raleigh, NC
Phone: 833-1120

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Local Product Spotlight: Moonlight Bakery

Allow me to introduce a brand new Gluten Free Bakery to the Raleigh market; Moonlight Bakery. I've recently been in contact with the bakery's owner; Raleigh resident Shanah Wade.

The brand new bakery will feature Gluten Free baked goods like Banana Nut, Chocolate Chip Nut, Carrot Cake, Blueberry muffins along with other delicious treats.

Shanah is a long time Celiac Disease sufferer, in fact she informed me that she was diagnosed in 1986 and was only the third person to get a Celiac diagnosis in the entire USA. Needless to say, she's got a ton of experience successfully eating Gluten Free and has had a lot of time to perfect her baked goods recipes.

Moonlight Bakery is planning their launch to the public this weekend September 26th at two events. The first is from 8am to 12pm at the North Hills Farmers Market located off of Six Forks Road and I-440 Beltline and the second is the Earthfare Harvest Fest in Brier Creek shopping center from 2pm - 6pm. Stop in and see Moonlight Bakery this weekend and welcome them to the Gluten Free marketplace. As a bonus, you'll have the chance to sample their products before you buy! You'll be able to catch Moonlight at a Farmers Market on a regular basis and they plan to deliver products out of their state inspected home-based kitchen the remainder of the time.

At the time of this post, their Web site is currently under construction so check back soon for more information.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Family Meals @ Rosie's Plate

I received word yesterday about a new menu option now available at Rosie's Plate called Family Meals.

The new Family Meal options are larger portion sizes of some of Rosie's most popular menu items designed to feed a family of 4. With entree options like Meatloaf, Spaghetti & Meatballs and Roasted Chicken along with side items like green beans and mashed potatoes, you can now swing by Rosie's and pick up a bigger, more convenient meal option for your family!

Click here to see the full September Family Meal menu.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Raleigh CSA Support Group 9-17-09 Meeting Recap

Special thanks to Gail for taking meeting minutes during the last North Raleigh Celiac Support Group meeting on 9-17-2009. Below is a recap for those of you that could not make the meeting.
North Raleigh Celiac Support Group
CSA Chapter 108
September 17, 2009 7:00-9:00 PM
Rex Hospital Private Dining Room, Raleigh, North Carolina

Our regular support group meetings have resumed after a three month summer hiatus. During this time, Pat Berger was contacted by several companies regarding new, G-F products. This was more frequently than over the previous two years. With Celiac awareness growing, many new food items are trying to get into the marketplace and our group is being offered free samples.

The first samples distributed were GF gravy, sauce, and soup mixes from Full Flavor Foods and are available on-line at forfullflavor.com. These products have been awarded certification by the Celiac Sprue Association and 2% of profits will be donated to Celiac research projects.

A second varied group of mixes was received from Duinkerken. They are available locally at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill and on-line at duinkerkenfoods.com. Group members will give some feedback on all these products in upcoming meetings.

Whole Foods Market is planning another Gluten-Free Fair on Saturday, October 17 from 1:00-3:00 PM. CSA Chapter 108 will have an information table set up and Pat is looking for volunteers to work a 30 minute shift. In order to expand into the community, Pat discussed developing additional volunteer positions. If you would like to contribute, please let her know.

The challenge of eating in restaurants is an ongoing topic of group interest. Several members related their success in dining out by avoiding chain establishments and sticking to locally owned restaurants. “They care” was the main reasoning behind the experience. Others suggest avoiding busy times so the chef or manager will be able to give time and attention to your special order. Another good suggestion for GF choices is dining in Indian Restaurants, since this cuisine usually does not incorporate any wheat products.
This discussion related to an article in the current issue of the Gluten Intolerance Group Magazine entitled ”Walking the Fine Line of Trust” which was distributed to the group. Anyone on a G-F diet must balance trust and non-trust. If we always trust, we are guaranteed to get an unhealthy amount of gluten in our diets. But if we try to be as strict as possible, we will severely limit our options. To minimize risk, it is very important to educate yourself as much as possible and be your own advocate. It is important to read journals, visit Celiac center websites, join e-mail lists, and read labels. A copy of another article encouraging medical second opinion was also reviewed.
Zach updated the group on a new vendor Juno Nutrition. The goal of this vendor is to provide the largest living food database. The service is by subscription. Zach will be teaching GF classes on October 3, 2009 at Rosie’s Plate and presenting his food allergy poster petition to the City of Raleigh at the October 20, 2009 meeting.

A special guest presentation and bread tasting was given by new member Thomas Munn. Over the past ten years he has been exploring and developing new G-F recipes. Of particular interest is that fact that Thomas is incorporating uncommon sources of nutritional ingredients rather than just pure rice flour and starches. He uses a micronizing food mill to produce ultra fine, fresh, and pure flours from such grains as amaranth, teff, quinoa and millet at home. He shared his Amaranth Quinoa Millet Dill Bread with the group. For GF bread, Thomas uses the rapid rise cycle on a bread machine and removes the paddle before the “rise” cycle so the machine will not punch down the dough. Thomas is currently working on an e-book and asked the group if we would test his recipes for ease of use for the home cook.

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 15, 2009 in the private dining room at Rex Hospital.

Submitted by,
Gail Harris

Monday, September 21, 2009

Restaurant Review: Qdoba Mexican Grill

I recently had the pleasure of dining Gluten Free at Qdoba Mexican Grill. Qdoba is a "fast-casual" restaurant featuring Tex-Mex style food like burritos, tacos, and quesadillas. Before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I frequented Qdoba and it was a favorite of mine, but I had not been back since going Gluten Free. Qdoba started in Denver in 1995 and now has nearly 500 stores in 42 states.

A quick check of their menu online and you'll quickly see gluten in several places, i.e. flour tortillas. But some clarity is provided on their Allergen information page. The soft white corn tortilla shell is marked as wheat free along with a big variety of other items on the menu.

For my order, I played it safe and went with a naked burrito, i.e. in a plastic bowl. I was not brave enough to get the soft white corn tortilla shells. I asked the worker to change her gloves and for me the risk of cross-contact was pretty low (as low as it can be in a gluten filled restaurant kitchen). Each ingredient is in a separate container and has it's own designated spoon. I ordered the naked chicken burrito and had the following added; Cilantro Lime Rice, Black Beans, Romaine Lettuce, Chicken, Pico de Gallo and Cheese.

The naked burrito was really yummy and big enough for 2 meals. I got a little creative and used my beloved Utz tortilla chips to scoop and eat the burrito rather than a fork. I did not suffer any gluten consequences and will definitely go back.

FYI - Qdoba also has a rewards program called the Qcard. Swipe your Qcard each time you buy Qdoba and after about 10 purchases, you'll be entitled to a free entree. You can get your Qcard at the register when you check out.

Qdoba has 6 Triangle area locations
*424 E. Six Fork Rd.
*3101 Edwards Mill Rd., Ste. 102

*2222 Walnut Street

*210 Hinton Oaks Blvd.

*1005 Beaver Creek Commons Dr.

Chapel Hill
*100 W. Franklin St.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Reminder: Gluten Free 101 Class

I wrote about this a couple weeks ago but wanted to send out a little reminder as the class is getting full. I will be teaching a Gluten Free 101 Class on Saturday, October 3rd @ Rosie's Plate in Downtown Raleigh. The class runs from 1pm - 3pm and is designed for the newly diagnosed Celiac or anyone else starting out on the Gluten Free Diet.

Click here for more details (scroll down to the Gluten Free 101 description). There are a few spaces remaining - call Rosie's Plate today to reserve your spot. Call Rosie's Plate today at 833.0505 to reserve.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tijuana Flats Coming Soon To Raleigh

Tex-Mex restaurant chain Tijuana Flats is coming soon to Raleigh. This should interest fans of Chipotle, Moe's Southwest Grill or Qdoba (click each link for their respective GF menus).

Check out the Triangle Business Journal article here. The Raleigh store, located in the Quail Commons shopping center at the corner of Falls of Neuse Road and Millbrook Road, will open on September 21st. Look for 6-8 more locations coming soon to the Triangle.

Click here for the Tijuana Flats' Gluten information (located on Page 14). Seems like they are going to be subject to the potential cross-contact found in the other Tex-Mex places.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reminder - Greater North Raleigh Celiac Support Group Meeting

Just a friendly reminder about this month's Greater North Raleigh Celiac Support Group meeting. The meeting is Thursday, September 16th at 7pm at Rex Hospital. This month, area resident, Thomas Munn, will be with us to talk about baking Gluten Free bread (including recipes with added fiber), using bread machines, giving us a recipe he has developed that "works," and a ready-made sample to taste.

Please email Pat Berger to request more information about the group or if you are interested in attending this month's meeting.

You can also check out the Support Group's Yahoo Web page here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gluten Free City Guide Updated

If you have not seen the Gluten Free City Guide, you can check it out here. It is a helpful tool if you plan on traveling to unknown areas of the USA/Canada. I designed the GF City Guide as a mashup of great Gluten Free blogs or Celiac Disease support group Web sites for various cities out there. These are the local folks in the know for their respective city. I would recommend reading their content and/or even contacting them in advance of your trip so that things can go a little more smooth. I get emails a lot from folks coming to Raleigh and they can easily refer to content on on GFR for their trip.

I spent some time recently updating it to make it a little more easy to use and navigate. Also, I updated some of the cities listed, removed bad links and added new cities. There are now 176 placemarks on the Gluten Free City Guide map.

The Gluten Free City Guide is includes placemarks on numerous cities throughout the USA & Canada. Placemarks have been added to cities where Celiac Disease Support Group Web sites and/or Gluten Free Blogs specifically about those cities exist. Find a city you want more Gluten Free information on and simply click it's placemark. Use the Gluten Free City Guide map to help with traveling to unfamiliar cities or to learn more about your city.

Please email me if you maintain a Celiac Disease support group Web site or are a blogger who writes about living Gluten Free in a particular city/state/region and would like to be added to the network.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ted's Montana Grill - Gluten Free Menu Updated

Check out this great article from Celiac-Disease.com about Ted's Montana Grill and the recent changes to their Gluten Free menu and strategy.

Ted's Montana Grill's Gluten Free menu can be found here and turns out to be pretty extensive. Multiple choices for starters, salads, burgers/chicken sandwiches, entrees, kids menu, sides and desserts can be found.

French fries are also now on the menu but be sure to check each location has a dedicated fryer.

Raleigh has one Ted's Montana Grill which can be found at Triangle Town Center. The location's Web site can be found here.

I have not yet been to Ted's but will try to soon. If you have been, please leave a comment below about your experience.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Raleigh Trader Joe's Update - Opens 10/30/09

I first wrote about Raleigh's first Trader Joe's location last December. Tons of delays have happened since then but it looks like the official opening of the store will occur on October 30th, 2009.

Check out the New Raleigh article here.

FYI - The average Trader Joe's carries hundreds of Gluten Free products which will provide another grocery option which is never a bad thing.

Trader Joe's Grocery Store
3080 Wake Forest Road (Wake Forest Road & I-440)
Raleigh, NC 27609
Trading Hours: 9 am -9 pm

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Red Bowl Asian Bistro Coming To Raleigh

I've heard from many of you out there that an excellent Gluten Free meal can be had at Red Bowl Asian Bistro in Cary.

I personally have not been to Red Bowl yet but recently heard that a new location would be opening soon in Raleigh. Check out Sue Stock's article here from the N&O. Sue says "Also in North Raleigh, at BJ's-anchored Plantation Point off Capital Boulevard, Red Bowl Asian Bistro is under construction next to Mimi's Café and will open in early 2010."

From Red Bowl's Web site...
Originally started in Charlotte, Red Bowl Asian Bistro is brand new to the Cary area. The elegant, traditional setting is combined with a beautiful contemporary flair.

Red Bowl Asian Bistro is a traditional Asian restaurant with a full service bar serving Asian inspired dishes. Each distinctive dish is handcrafted to order using only the finest and freshest ingredients in our immaculate kitchen.

Our combination of Asian cooking techniques (Chinese, Thai and Japanese) allows us to create exceptional pan-Asian cuisine! At Red Bowl Asian Bistro, you will always discover more than you expect, from our create-your-own stir-fry bar, our award winning sushi bar and family friendly environment to our wide variety of Asian dishes.

Red Bowl Asian Bistro strives to preserve the best time-honored Asian cooking traditions while providing a fresh, flavorful alternative for today's food connoisseur.
Click here for Red Bowl's Gluten Free menu (scroll to bottom). Leave a comment if you've had good luck here and are excited about the new location.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Food Allergy Poster & Petition Update

Back in March I created an online petition to the City of Raleigh for a food allergen educational poster requirement for restaurants. The idea was to have a poster detailing the top 8 allergens (peanut, tree nuts, cow's milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish) plus Gluten (wheat, barley, rye & oats) posted at each restaurant in the city in an effort to raise awareness of food allergies among kitchen staff. I believe a poster detailing what the major food allergies are along with common ingredients can go a long way in helping folks have safe meals.

Click here to see the original post & click here to see (and sign) the online petition if you have not already. There are currently 278 signatures on the petition - a huge thanks to everyone who is supporting this effort and leaving great comments. My goal was to present this idea to the Raleigh City Council once I received 300 signatures. It is now "Go Time".

I have officially filled out the request to appear before the Raleigh City Council on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 at 1pm. I supplied a ton of supporting documentation about food allergies from (The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network - FAAN and Food Allergy Initiative - FAI) as well as items about Gluten allergies and those of us with Celiac Disease. I expect to speak before the council around 2pm that day - if you want to come out and support this effort, please feel free!

Here is where I need your help!
  1. Please sign the petition if you have not already. The more signatures on the petition when I go in front of the city leaders the better credibility we have as an organization.

  2. I am launching a contest for my readers to create the actual design of the food allergy education poster. There are some out there I have already found concerning the top 8 allergens but none include Gluten and none have that special Raleigh flavor. I know there are some great design folks out there - here is your chance to get your design in every restaurant in the city while helping those 12 million Americans (3 million children) along the way. Come up with a design, put it in .pdf format and email it to me. I will collect all entries and present them here on this blog for the readers to vote on to determine the winner. Please submit your design via email by Friday, October 16th at 12pm. Please include all the top 8 allergens plus Gluten on your poster with some details about each allergen and what kitchen workers should watch out for. Please also include a process restaurant staff should follow when they encounter someone with food allergies to ensure they can have an educated choice about a safe meal.
Let's keep our fingers crossed that this idea can become a reality and the citizens and visitors of Raleigh can make a huge step towards having safe meals at restaurants. Currently, New York city is the only place in the USA with this requirement. Let's make Raleigh the 2nd!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More On Gluten Free Classes @ Rosie's Plate

I wrote yesterday about some upcoming Gluten Free classes being offered over at Rosie's Plate. I wanted to expand a little on these (especially the 2nd class - hopefully I can meet some more of you out there as I will be teaching this class).
  • The first class being offered is called Basics of Baking Gluten Free. It will be held on Saturday, September 26th from 2pm - 330pm. The cost is $35 per person. The class will feature an up-close demonstration of how to make Rosie's buttermilk biscuits, sugar cookies and banana muffins. The class will actually take place in Rosie's kitchen with the excellent chefs behind the awesome food. The class will also feature a discussion on the basics of GF baking including the alternative flours available and how to make substitutions. The class size will be limited to only 6 people. Call 833.0505 to reserve your space before this class fills up.
  • The second class being offered is called Gluten Free 101. It will be held on Saturday, October 3rd from 1pm - 3pm. The class will be a great resource for those who are just starting out on a Gluten Free Diet. The class will be taught by yours truly! More details to come in the near future about this class but just think of it as an Introduction to the Gluten Free Lifestyle. The wave of going GF has just hit you and knocked you down - this class will help you stand up and begin your journey to being healthy again. This class will be limited to 12 people and hopefully will become a recurring class in the future. A portion of the class fee will be donated to Celiac Disease research. Call 833.0505 for more details and to reserve your space.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rosie's Plate Update

Here are several updates about some good stuff going on over at Rosie's Plate.

  • The new September menu is now available at Rosie's Plate! Click here for the menu. Stop into Rosie's Plate on 9/3 or 9/4 for 10% off your order!
  • FYI - Rosie's will be closed on 9/5 and 9/7 for the Labor Day Holiday.
  • New Fall Hours - Weekdays 10am to 630pm, Saturdays 10am - 4pm.
  • Rosie's has expanded their class offerings. In addition to their Wellness Class, they are also offering a Basics of Baking Gluten Free Class and a Gluten Free 101 Class for the new-to-GF people out there. Click here for more info and to sign up.
  • Rosie's has also expanded their freezer selections and now offer Family-size Lasagna, Beef & Tomato Sauce and Beef Stroganoff Sauce (add your own pasta).
  • Rosie's introduces naturally sweetened desserts with Agave Nectar - brownies, cookies, trail mix bars and more! Click here for more info.

Jules Gluten Free Update

I wrote last week about a change made to the size of the sample packet of Jules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Now that you've had a chance to try out a sample, here is a special offer on a bigger bag of flour.

Buy 1 Bag of All Purpose Flour, Get 1 Bag of Graham Cracker Mix for Free

Now through 9/9/2009.